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Cole sat with his back to the cliff face, naked as the day he was born. The rough stone scratched his back, the rubble under him dug into his bum. He focused on a distant point where flames had licked at the treetops, leaving nothing but blackened fingers reaching into the sky.
The fire had recently passed over the valley, leaving the territory of the wolf tribe a mixture of ashes and partially burnt foliage. If Gar hadn't been away from home, if the wind had turned the other way, Cole was sure life would have gone on as usual. Many of the small family packs had fought the flames, while others had fled. But without Gar, the pall of death now loomed over the entire tribe.
Cole's immediate thoughts were of his find and the meaning behind it. The talisman. The brilliant red stone in the shape of a wolf's head, set in the centre of the gold filigree, rested in his palm. He wanted to throw it as far as his strength would allow. Instead, he tossed it into the air and snatched it back then lifted it so the sun shone through the gem, sending brilliant shards of colour across the dull, burned soil.
"What's the matter?" Zane, his friend and companion, leaned down and, reaching out, tried to snatch the stone from his grasp.
Cole pulled the amulet close, unwilling to allow it to leave his hand. Cursing under his breath, he wondered why. He'd have given anything if he'd never seen the damn thing—never found their tribal leader, Gar, and his mate's scorched corpses. Charred flesh and bone had been all that remained. The smell was something he'd never forget, he was sure of it.
The shock and grief were still hard to bear. The ramifications of what this meant to their tribe were enormous. Cole sighed. No one would ever be able to replace Gar. Yet someone would have to try.
Shaking off his black mood, he dropped the amulet onto the pile of clothing he'd shed and grabbed hold of Zane's wrist. He pulled the tan-fleshed, white-haired man around and draped him across his knees. "Nothing besides the obvious," he said, answering Zane's question. "Oh, and I'm horny." It seemed inappropriate, but Cole needed something to distract him from the horrible events that had taken place.
Zane's response was predictable, as had been Cole's own comment. "Yeah, so what else is new? Ever since I met you, your cock's been at no less than half-hard."
"Nothing wrong with that, or so you've been telling me for the past couple of weeks. No one else complains about me being hard all the time."
Zane wriggled, dragging his thighs and genitals over Cole's erection. "Like I'm complaining!" He squirmed a little more and chuckled when Cole groaned.
"Fuck, you know how to get to me." Cole slid his hand over Zane's lower back then along his arse. The man's squirming took on a more determined thrust, driving his shaft hard into Cole's thigh.
"I understand how you're feeling. This whole situation is overwhelming, and you'd rather not think about it for a while longer. But you're driving me crazy!" Zane drove his hips forward again. "Either spank me or fuck me, please!"
Grinning, Cole continued his teasing caress, sliding his palm over the firm cheeks of the man's bum and down his thighs. He nudged them apart and slipped a hand between those sturdy columns of muscle and bone, cupping the warm, round sac. "Spank you? Have you misbehaved? Do you need a spanking?" Cole was intrigued. He'd never spanked anyone before.
"For fuck's sake, just do me, would you?" Zane snarled, his temper obviously getting the better of him.
Cole loved trying new things and wasn't about to let Zane off so easily. He pressed his free arm across the man's back, holding him in place, while continuing to toy with the hefty ball sac and the crack of his arse. Zane's writhing grew more desperate when Cole pushed a finger against the tight rosebud nestled between his cheeks. He groaned when it popped inside.
"So, fucking or spanking?" Cole twisted his digit around the tight passage. His own cock shifted, pulsing under the weight of his new lover.
"Whatever you want. Fuck, spank, I don't care," Zane growled. "Just don't leave me hanging."
"And you said I was always horny. What about you and this monster you have dangling between your legs?" Popping his finger free, Cole pushed his hand between them and grabbed Zane's impressive hard-on.